How to conduct a channel audit in 6 steps
Writing content takes time, resources and planning. As content is an important part of the developer marketing mix and a key element in any developer program, it’s critical to make sure what you’re publishing resonates with the intended developer audience. In Part 4 of our Developer Marketing Guide, we walked you through the steps you need to take in order to create a successful and engaging developer content strategy. Publishing isn’t the end of your content journey. You need to take stock of your efforts by analysing, evaluating, and reflecting on how your content is of value to and discovered by the developers you aim to connect with.
A channel audit will give you an understanding of the gaps in your content strategy and help you identify opportunities to tell a more compelling story about your products and program. You’ll discover what’s resonating with the developer community and from your analysis, you’ll be able to drive your future content efforts towards ensuring you’re crafting content your developer audience wants to read. This is an activity you’ll need to schedule in your calendar regularly. Yes, it does take time but the insights you’ll gain will be worth the effort.
Catchy’s 6 step channel audit playbook
Follow our 6 step channel audit playbook to find out how to complete your own channel audit:
1. Assess the editorial backlog
Create a content review repository. This could be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as using a sophisticated content marketing planning tool. The goal is to collect and tag publications with — content theme, type, publishing date, publishing time, engagement statistics, and any other relevant data. For videos also include the length of video, view total, and comment count. If you work for a big organisation it might be of value to track the author and to run a scan of brand mentions across the web looking for content published outside of your editorial process. You’ll be surprised how often we find well-intended publications that don’t fit the core narrative or tone, program managers worked so hard to create for their developer programs.
First, establish your time dimensions. Consider whether you need to do daily or month by month content comparisons. Collect performance metrics across both owned and third-party channels. Then, make an effort to calculate organic distribution amplification. When what you write resonates, people share it. Find what evokes that reaction.
3. Learn from what didn’t work
Immediately identify productions that fell flat. Don’t take it too personally, this is an opportunity to correct your content. If an idea didn’t generate the traction you expected, it is imperative to take note on the factors that contributed to its failure. Was it published without context? Was is it rushed and poorly produced? Is it just important for your team internally, but not to developers? Did you use the wrong title? Have the hard conversations internally and question if the piece was published as SEO fluff or if it was truly meant to be of value to the developers you want to attract to your developer program. Learning from low performing assets is as important as learning from successful ones.
4. Your data is worthless, generate insights
Using all of the data you’ve compiled, proceed by conducting an in-depth analysis to identify trends and extract insights:
- Look for content themes and explore what content garnered the most engagement
- Pay attention to how publishing dates and times have impacted engagement levels
- Look at whether the content was original or shared from other owned channels and/or third-party sources
- Understand what third-party content has been shared most frequently, average engagement metrics, and what hashtags are being used
- Don’t forget to also crawl industry-related websites and blogs to look for mentions and feedback
- Look for any gaps or growth opportunities that could be integrated into your developer marketing strategy
- Review what developers are discussing on forums to keep up with their changing interests
5. Brand check
Now it’s time to do a consistency check across all your developer marketing touch points. relevant, it’s important to ensure brand consistency. Pay particular attention to the following:
- Do your channels have a consistent presentation that is recognisable to developers?
- Are you featuring consistent imagery?
- Are your brand colours used correctly?
- Do you have accurate product descriptions, web links, and resource information?
6. Go beyond reporting
The insights you’ve compiled are valuable only if you allow them to inform your content production planning. Take what you’ve learned and use your findings to enhance and improve your editorial backlog. With time, discussions will evolve from what people think is a “cool idea for a blog post” to “this is the most valuable type of content for our audience on this channel”. We understand you have plenty you want to say about your products, what you know, and your developer program. But do you understand what developers care about enough to decide to join in or do more with what you offer?
The next steps
Your resources are valuable and you don’t want to waste time and energy on something that isn’t creating value. There is no standard length of time it should take to complete a channel audit, as the timeline is dependent on the number of channels, how frequently you share content, and the level of engagement you receive. Don’t rush the process, be thorough and consistent.
After you’ve completed the channel audit you might be surprised at some of the results, but take these learnings to grow and develop your strategy. You’ll find your developer content strategy evolves and develops over time. Content is of course just one part of the marketing mix for developers, check out our Developer Program Framework to find out what other key components can help your developer program ROI.
Originally published at catchyagency.com on September 27, 2018.